Ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control

Beckhoff Automation introduced an ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control. The “revolutionary EL7201 Terminal permits direct connection of a servomotor and resolver to a 12 mm EtherCAT Terminal,” the company said. Five axes can be controlled in width of less than 2.5 inches.


As the sign said in the Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 Beckhoff booth, 5 servo axes fit in less than 2.5-in. width with the new Beckhoff Automation EL7201 servo drive. Photo by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media.

To introduce servo technology solutions in the smallest possible form factors, Beckhoff Automation released the new EL7201 servo terminal for the EtherCAT Terminal system. The EL7201 terminal integrates a complete servo drive for motors up to 200 W into a standard 12 mm I/O terminal housing. Integration into the EtherCAT I/O system considerably simplifies cabling and commissioning while reducing cabinet size requirements and costs.

The innovative EL7201 servo terminal made its formal North American debut in the Beckhoff booth (#5228, South Hall) at the Pack Expo 2011 trade show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. As the display showed, 5 servo axes fit in less than 2.5-in. width (see photo).

The cost- and space-saving servo terminal expands the range of compact drive technology solutions for the Beckhoff I/O system: as an addition to the popular terminals for stepper motors and ac and dc motors, Beckhoff offers an I/O solution for highly-dynamic servo positioning tasks.

The servo terminal with resolver integrates fast EtherCAT control technology, with field-oriented current, and PI speed control, and supports highly dynamic positioning tasks. Apart from the direct connection of a motor and resolver, connection of a motor holding brake is also possible. 

Graham  Harris, president, Beckhoff Automation, called the EL7201 a game changer. "Small servo drives have been a popular technology for years and the EL7201 is a major evolution of this trend. Machine builders and manufacturers now have the option to control small servos with a 12 mm device."

Permanent magnet synchronous motors with a rated current of up to 4 A can be connected as loads. The monitoring of numerous parameters, such as overvoltage and undervoltage, overcurrent, terminal temperature or motor load, offers maximum operational reliability. Modern power semiconductors guarantee minimum power loss and enable feedback into the DC-Link when braking.

The servo terminal is fully integrated into TwinCAT automation software from Beckhoff, enabling convenient parameterization. In the case of third-party masters, parameterization takes place via the CAN over EtherCAT profile (CoE).

Scalable servo 

The servo terminals cover a broad range of positioning tasks: from packaging and assembly machines to small robots. With the EL7201 servo terminal, the range of servo drives from Beckhoff becomes even more finely scalable: from the miniature servo drive up to 200 W in the EtherCAT Terminal format to the AX5000 Servo Drive with 118 kW, Beckhoff offers a wide range of advanced motion control solutions.

Beckhoff Automation’s open automation products aim to help customers implement high performance control systems faster and at a lower overall cost than traditional PLC and motion control systems. Beckhoff’s “New Automation Technology” product range includes PC based control, industrial PCs, automation controllers, operator interface, I/O, servo drives and motors. Sales and service are handled directly, with representation in more than 60 countries, without intermediaries, to provide faster response and improved communications, the company said. 

www.beckhoffautomation.com/el7201 includes video and additional information.


- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering

Motors and Drives Channel


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